RAGE & DEBASEMENT: In Her Attempts To Brand Woody Allen a Child Molester, Mia Farrow Made a Videotape Of Her 7-Year-Old Daughter In The Nude While At Other Times Having Her Point To Her Crotch, Then Had It Leaked To The Press In The Hopes That They Would Air It Publicly.
While debating the accusations that Woody Allen may have molested his adopted daughter Dylan when she was 7-years-old, people forget (or in many cases, simply do not know) that in her obsessive zeal to have her ex-boyfriend and lover Woody Allen branded as a child molester, Mia Farrow made a video tape of her daughter Dylan in the nude and at other times pointing to her crotch while accusing Allen of abuse, then deliberately engineered to have that sensitive tape of her daughter leaked to the press.
Mia Farrow has naturally never confessed to this, but the circumstantial evidence is overwhelming.
The alleged abuse is supposed to have taken place on August 4, 1992. Over the course of the next two to three days, Farrow made a videotape of Dylan who is seen accusing Woody Allen of sexual abuse. Filmed in various segments with many stops and starts, some parts showed Dylan in the nude. Other segments had Dylan pointing to her crotch in describing where she had been touched.
Less than two weeks later, WNYW-TV in New York had obtained a copy of the tape.
(WNYW was the local station that originally created the first dedicated television tabloid show, “A Current Affair”, before syndicating it nationally, ushering in a wave of tabloid-style television.)
Even those who did not know whose side to take in the family drama called the creation and leak of the Dylan tape “a sordid new low”.
The timeline of events, witness testimonies and actions of the participants all point to Farrow as the one who engineered the leak.
The Contents of Tape
Let’s begin with what we know about the contents of the tape itself. Few have seen it, so the public must rely on the general descriptions by the small number who have seen it and described it in print.
Here is an excerpt from “Start to Finish: Woody Allen and the Art of Moviemaking” by Eric Lax (published by Knopf) where Lax recounts an interview he had with noted sex crimes prosecutor Linda Fairstein:
Before Linda Fairstein became a best selling author, she was director of the first sex crimes unit in the United States, appointed in 1976 by New York City District Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau. Until 2002 she oversaw the investigation of thousands of allegations of child and sexual abuse, and she has an informed opinion on this one.
“Once there was the suggestion that Woody Allen was involved with Soon-Yi, then there’s every reason for Mia Farrow to be doing something from angry to insane, and there’s no better weapon than your children. So take the weakest link — the youngest, the girl — and whatever you want to say that would make the public believe you are dealing with a monster, is to make this claim.
“When the story came out that Mia had videotaped Dylan” — in eleven segments shot at different times in different places, one nude in a bathtub, others outside showing her topless — “it sounded to me like one of the craziest things I’d ever heard. On every level, it’s the last thing you would do. First of all, videotaping her naked while asking again and again about what happened. Why are you exposing your child to these videos that someday will possibly be in the hands of the public or in the courtroom? That fact alone set off every alarm.”
In fairness, it is unclear from this excerpt if Lax has seen the tape himself, or if Fairstein has either. The segment that describes the tape as being “eleven segments shot at different times in different places, one nude in a bathtub, others outside showing [Dylan] topless” is not part of Fairstein’s quote, but seems instead to be from Lax’s own description, and it is thus unclear exactly how he managed to acquire this information. But as I will demonstrate, another source who has unquestionably seen the tape lends credence to this description, regardless of how Lax or Fairstein may have acquired this information themselves.
Kristi Groteke was Dylan’s nanny and staying at Mia Farrow’s house in Connecticut at the time that Farrow first claimed that the molestation occurred. Groteke has remained a supporter of Mia Farrow’s side of the story and a critic of Allen’s. In 1994, she wrote a “tell-all” book about her experiences with Allen and Farrow entitled “Mia & Woody: Love and Betrayal” (published by Carroll & Graf, co-written by Marjorie Rosen).
Groteke’s book was adapted and used as a primary source for what could charitably be described as a lowbrow 4-hour TV miniseries in 1995 entitled “Love and Betrayal: The Mia Farrow Story”. Groteke plays herself in the series.
Here is what Groteke says in her book in describing the videotape of Dylan that Mia made:
[Mia] was on the phone to her mother, talking with a frightening intensity. As she spoke, she motioned to me and pointed to a tape that was sitting beside her on the floor. Getting up, she put the tape into the video machine and pushed the play button, then took the phone and, dragging the cord behind her, turned around and walked into the adjacent nursery, allowing me to watch the tape all by myself.
It is chilling. It begins with Dylan sitting on Mia’s bed. Mia holding the video camera, is not in the picture but we hear her asking Dylan questions like, “Where did Daddy take you?” And Dylan answers, “He took me to the attic.” Mia asks several more questions while Dylan sits on the bed. Then the scene shifts to the lake. Now we see Dylan lying in one of the lounge chairs by the water. Mia asks her questions like “Where did he touch you?” And Dylan, whose legs are slightly open, says, “He touched me here, and he touched me here, and he touched me here.” Each time she says this, she points to her genital areas. During this scene, Dylan seems manic and distracted, and there are many interruptions. She gets up from her chair often. Occasionally, too, Tam runs into the picture to play, blocking Dylan from view. Finally, one distraction too many, Mia stops the tape. When it starts again, Dylan tells her that she wishes that Andre [Previn] were her daddy. “Mommy, it hurts there, it hurts there” she says and holds her genital area. Mia pauses, she sounds very upset, and Dylan says something about Woody putting his finger inside her. Dylan says again, “It hurts.” Toward the end of the tape Dylan repeats her claim that Woody has taken her to the attic and has told her that if she doesn’t move, if she lies very still, he will take her to Paris and put her in her next movie. Then she says, a serious expression on her face, “I don’t want to be in the movie, and I don’t want to go to Paris.” The tape closes as Dylan looks at Mia and asks, “Mommy, did your daddy do this to you?”
(Mia & Woody: Love & Betrayal, pgs. 126–127)
Doubts About The Authenticity Of The Claims On The Tape
Allen’s defenders have maintained that Farrow enticed and coached Dylan to falsely make the accusations on tape, citing the fact (among several other factors) that the tape has many stops and starts on it.
The Los Angeles Times reported that Monica Thompson, who served as another nanny at the Farrow household for seven years, stated in a sworn deposition that it took Farrow two or three days to videotape Dylan making the accusations and that she appeared to be uninterested in the process at times.
“I know that the tape was made over the course of at least two and perhaps three days,” Thompson said. “I was present when Ms. Farrow made a portion of that tape outdoors. I recall Ms. Farrow saying to Dylan at that time, ‘Dylan, what did daddy do . . . and what did he do next?’
“Dylan appeared not to be interested, and Ms. Farrow would stop taping for a while and then continue,” she said.
The UPI also reported Thompson as saying she heard Farrow ask an uninterested Dylan , “Did he tell you to take your underwear off?” and that Dylan had been reluctant to say any of these things to the doctor.
Thompson said that after Farrow finally got Dylan to repeat these claims to a doctor, Farrow told her “Everything is OK now. Everything is set.” and that Farrow seemed “happy and excited for herself”.
Dylan’s brother Moses Farrow, also at the house on August 4, 1992, and for the days following, has stated his belief that his sister was coached to say the things she did.
Moses has stated on social media, “So many times I saw my mother try to convince her that she was abused — and it has worked. Some day, I hope Dylan can escape from my mother, confront the truth and begin her own healing….What breaks my heart the most is while I know that my sister, Dylan, believes what she says, I also know from my own experience, that it simply never happened.”
He had previously told People Magazine, “Of course Woody did not molest my sister. She loved him and looked forward to seeing him when he would visit. She never hid from him until our mother succeeded in creating the atmosphere of fear and hate towards him. The day in question, there were six or seven of us in the house. We were all in public rooms and no one, not my father or sister, was off in any private spaces. My mother was conveniently out shopping. I don t know if my sister really believes she was molested or is trying to please her mother. Pleasing my mother was very powerful motivation because to be on her wrong side was horrible.”
Experts on child sexual abuse from the Yale-New Haven Hospital reviewed the tape with Mia Farrow present on December 4th, 1992 (in addition to conducting extensive interviews with all relevant parties). They concluded that Dylan had not been sexually abused and that “Dylan’s statements on videotape …do not refer to actual events that occurred to her on August 4, 1992.”
Although they could not conclude with absolute certainty that Dylan was specifically coached by Mia Farrow, they noted that there were “important inconsistencies in Dylan’s statements in the videotape and in her statements to us” and that “she told the story in a manner that was overly thoughtful and controlling. There was no spontaneity in her statements, and a rehearsed quality was suggested in how she spoke.”
Dr. John M. Leventhal from Yale-New Haven Child Sexual Abuse Clinic testified that in addition to her statements having “a rehearsed quality”, Dylan had changed her story numerous times as to where she was touched and said “I like to cheat on my stories.”
Allen himself, shortly after it was announced that charges would not be filed against him, called a press conference where he described another specific section of Dylan’s tape by stating, “[W]hen the authorities viewed the tape of my daughter, didn’t they think something was amiss when she said she was frightened and ran into her sister Lark’s arms — but indeed everyone, the mother, the police, knew that Lark wasn’t in the state of Connecticut that day?” (See “Mia & Woody: Love and Betrayal”, Appendix, pg. 262.)
Though she has remained a steadfast supporter of Farrow’s, even Groteke herself admits that Mia had edited the tape and that some could conclude by watching it that Dylan had been coached.
Groteke writes in her book:
“[T]here was a splice, Mia explained, that cut out some tape inadvertently capturing Dylan’s private parts, and which, Mia felt, was “inappropriate” to show. The tape had undeniably, however, been stopped and restarted several times. I suppose it’s possible that in the interim Mia could have told her daughter what to say. Some viewers have watched it and said that it looks rehearsed, as if Dylan is acting. But she’s a very melodramatic child, and it seems farfetched to me that Mia would have coached her as to such minute details.”
(“Mia & Woody: Love and Betrayal”, pgs. 127–128.)
Facts That Can Be Discerned From The Witnesses’ Descriptions of the Tape
Even allowing for Groteke’s biases, we can discern and surmise a few objective facts from her account of watching the tape of Dylan.
- Groteke personally saw and had private access to the Dylan tape.
- Groteke herself admits that Dylan was a “very melodramatic child”.
- Groteke’s account serves as independent confirmation of the claims by Lax and Fairstein that the tape features scenes where Mia Farrow filmed Dylan in the nude. (How else could Farrow have “inadvertently” captured “Dylan’s private parts” if Dylan had been clothed?)
Evidence That Mia’s Camp Was the One That Deliberately Leaked the Tape to the Press (Most Likely Groteke Herself, Acting With Mia’s Consent)
Leaving aside the curious fact that Farrow felt the need to make such a tape before taking Dylan to a doctor or law enforcement authorities, you would think that a mother would take precautions to prevent the general public from seeing such a tape (unless the theory is that having the public know about the allegations is ultimately more important to you than any concerns about your own child’s privacy).
Farrow apparently didn’t put that concern high on her priority list.
So how does one surmise that Groteke was the most likely suspect to have leaked this tape to the media? Here is the evidence:
1. We know that the tape was leaked on our about Tuesday, August 18th, 1992 and specifically given to reporter Rosanna Scotto of New York’s Fox News Channel 5 (WNYW-TV).
(Source: UPI Report from Wednesday, August 19th, 1992: “Allen considered it ‘unconscionable and deplorable’ that Farrow would release the tape to anyone except the proper authorities, in this case the Connecticut State Police which are investigating her claim with the aid of New York authorities, [Allen spokesperson Leslee] Dart said. Tuesday, Fox-TV News reporter Rosanna Scotto reported she was sent a copy of the tape by Farrow and it showed her questioning her adopted daughter, Dylan, 7, about her relations with her father.”
*Note that the UPI report states that Scotto was “sent a copy of the tape by Farrow”. Did it mean to report that Farrow was the one who sent the tape to Scotto— as in, the tape was “sent by Farrow”? Or did it simply mean that Farrow was merely the creator of the tape (as in, “the tape by Farrow”) and that the specific identity of the sender is not addressed?
It’s possible to interpret the vague and unfortunate wording of this report either way. But for those who choose to believe that UPI didn’t already flat-out cite Farrow as the one who gave the tape to Scotto, the rest of the evidence below should be more than conclusive.)
2. The day before the leak, Scotto had been reporting on the Allen/Farrow controversy, interviewing prominent people in Manhattan about their thoughts on the matter — including the owner of the restaurant where Allen and Farrow first met.
3. Even one of Mia Farrow’s most stalwart defenders, Maureen Orth, admits in her Vanity Fair piece that the tape was leaked to Scotto around this time, and that “the station did not exonerate Mia of leaking it”.
4. We know from Groteke’s own book that she (Groteke) was allowed to witness and have access to the tape by herself. But now let’s examine what else Groteke writes in her book regarding the time in August 1992, immediately after the allegations were first made public:
Mia’s molestation charges and Woody’s lawsuit together unleashed a media circus that did not let up for an entire year. Mia was so overwhelmed by the mob of hungry reporters and photographers who had suddenly flocked to Bridgewater, stationing themselves at the top of the hill, right outside her driveway, that, with the exception of three visits to the doctor with Dylan, she didn’t leave the house in Connecticut for three weeks. Not once. I was her lifeline to the world. I went to the grocery store. To the video store. The bookstore. The post office. I faxed letters and memos for her to her attorneys from my parents’ house, and she received all her faxes through them. We didn’t leave the house until the Bridgewater Fair arrived on August 28.
And in some ways it was very exciting. Not only would I meet actual reporters like Roseanna Scotto, but I was constantly pursued by photographers. and TV camera crews as I went about Mia’s business. Occasionally, at night, I’d catch a glimpse of myself on the eleven o’clock news. My phone started ringing off the wall. My college roommate, Colleen Tracy, called the very first night and left a message: “What are you doing on TV, you little movie star?”
(Mia & Woody: Love and Betrayal, pgs. 144–145.)
5. So according to Groteke’s own account (assuming its accuracy), Mia didn’t leave her house for the last three weeks of August 1992 except to take Dylan to the doctor. Groteke describes herself as Mia’s sole “lifeline to the world” during this specific time that the tape was leaked to Rosanna Scotto. (Though, for the sake of accuracy, it should also be noted that at least one source reported that Grotreke drove Farrow to the bank on August 21st that year. See Newsday, Aug. 22, 1992, pg. 3.)
6. Groteke also describes how exciting it was for her “to meet actual reporters” during this time, yet very curiously, she only mentions one reporter specifically by name: Rosanna Scotto (whose name she misspells in her book as “Roseanna”).
Think about this anomaly for a moment. The Allen/Farrow controversy was a worldwide scandal when it first broke, attracting reporters from all around the globe. Yet the only reporter that Groteke sees fit to single out in describing her excitement is a reporter for the 10PM local news in a station in New York: Rosana Scotto. Not Tom Brokaw. Not Barbara Walters. Not any reporter who had a national reputation, but only Scotto - a local reporter for a local station who, by comparison, was a relative unknown at the time. Quite a remarkable coincidence, no?
Scotto was clearly not a particularly famous personality at the time, despite Groteke’s curious choice to single her out alone, by name. In fact, Scotto herself credits the Dylan tape leak as being her “first big break” in the news business.
There is only one reason to leak a videotape to a television reporter as opposed to a print reporter. You do so in the hopes that the television station will air it so that the larger public will see it. That is also why you might entrust a tape with a lesser known television reporter as opposed to a more prominent print reporter who can describe its contents to readers, but not show it to them personally.
WNYW admittedly said that “Farrow’s attorneys had requested the tape not be shown,” but that request seems particularly disingenuous in light of the overwhelming evidence that Farrow’s camp engineered the leak to begin with.
For what it’s worth, Farrow’s attorney, Susan B. Alter, directly denied leaking the tape herself.
John Springer, a spokesman for Farrow “denied that he or Farrow provided the station with a copy of the tape, saying it may have been stolen when Farrow had copies made.” (Newsday, Aug. 20, 1992, pg. 7)
Of course it is completely naive to think that Groteke or anyone in Mia Farrow’s circle would leak the tape of Dylan to Scotto without Farrow’s express blessing.
In case you didn’t know (or forgot), Farrow herself gave an exclusive interview in 1992 about the Dylan tape and her relationship with Allen to one (and only one) reporter. Would you care to guess who that reporter was? You guessed it: Rosanna Scotto.
Furthermore, on pg. 239 of “Mia & Woody: Love and Betrayal”, Groteke describes Farrow having a party to celebrate her court victory in her custody battle against Allen. She wrote, “Mia had also made sure to invite to the party members of the press and other people who had gone out of their way for her during the past year. Roseanna Scotto was one.”
Discounting Alternative Theories As To Who May Have Leaked The Tape To The Media
If the above evidence doesn’t convince you that it was Mia Farrow who arranged the leak the Dylan tape to the media (with Kristi Groteke likely having a personal hand in it on behalf of Farrow), let’s examine how unlikely the other suspects would be.
There are only two sets of people who would have had access to the tape on or before August 18, 1992 (the date it was leaked):
1. Mia Farrow and her family & supporters who were at the house the week of August 6, 1992.
2. Police and prosecutors investigating Dylan’s statements made on the tape.
It is admittedly true that Connecticut prosecutor Frank Maco was severely admonished for making public and biased statements to the media concerning his personal belief in Allen’s guilt and then faxed such statements to the judges handling Allen’s custody suit and Farrow’s suit attempting to void his adoption of Dylan in a naked attempt to try and influence the judges’ decisions.
But even with this highly unethical behavior by a state prosecutor, you would have to believe in an entirely different level of corruption and disregard for a child’s privacy to believe that Maco or anyone in Connecticut law enforcement would be the ones to leak the tape. Such an action would be grounds for immediate disbarment and much worse.
Even if you were inclined to believe such a level of corruption exists among Connecticut officials, that doesn’t account for the remarkable coincidence of Mia Farrow giving an exclusive interview in 1992 with Rosanna Scotto, the very reporter who received the tape. It also doesn’t account for the remarkable coincidence of Kristi Groteke singling out only Scotto by name when recounting her excitement in meeting media reporters.
If Connecticut officials were so corrupt as to leak evidence in an ongoing criminal investigation to the media, why not leak it to a Connecticut reporter in their same state where any eventual trial would be taking place, as opposed to a local reporter in New York? (Naturally, no such trial ever took place once their investigation ended.)
Could Woody Allen Himself (or his Legal Team) Have Been the One To Have Leaked the Tape of Dylan?
No. For two obvious reasons.
One, because the theory is ridiculous on its face. Think about it. What possible motivation would he have for doing so? Try to come up with a plausible theory as to why Woody Allen would want the media to have a copy of his own daughter accusing him of molesting her, which would naturally cause the story to gain more traction in harming his reputation. What possible benefit or reason could Allen or his legal team have for such an action?
We all know Mia Farrow’s obvious motivation for doing so: Revenge against Allen by publicly trying to brand him as a child molester in retaliation for his leaving Farrow for her adopted daughter, Soon-Yi Previn (the woman who has now been Allen’s wife for over 20 years).
It is the same motivation that in February of 1992 caused Farrow to send Allen a threatening Valentine card with a photo stabbed multiple times, well before the claims of Dylan and the subsequent video tape were made.
The same motivation that in April of 1992 caused Farrow to write a suicide note to Allen, stating that she couldn’t go on and claiming (four months before the allegations regarding Dylan) “I jumped out the window because of what you’ve done to my children.” (Groteke confirms this account on pg. 106 of her book, stating that Farrow wrote the suicide note in Allen’s own apartment while he was out, before going to edge of his terrance to contemplate jumping.)
The same motivation that caused Farrow to threaten Allen, prompting a psychologist to fear for Allen’s physical safety after Farrow called Allen “satanic and evil” and asked the psychologist to “find a way to stop him” — all well before the Dylan allegations and tape were made.
The same motivation that caused Farrow to tell Kristi Groteke that “someday, and in someway, Woody would pay for what he has done”. (“Mia & Woody: Love and Betrayal”, pg. 212)
The same motivation that caused Farrow to write a note to Allen the week of July 11th, 1992 that, in rage-filled tones, already accused him of being a child molester weeks before Dylan actually made her claims which Farrow videotaped over the course of two to three days. (This would also be weeks before Dylan’s first comments about any alleged abuse to a doctor, which prompted Farrow to tell her nannies afterwards, “‘everything is OK now — everything is set” and to very calmly tell the psychologist about the abuse after being in a completely agitated state before the abuse claims — causing the psychologist to become extremely puzzled over Farrow’s emotional state.)
The only way anyone on Allen’s legal team would want the Dylan tape to leak out is if it was so obvious on the face of the tape that Dylan had been coached, that even the most casual observer of the tape would conclude that the allegations were nonsense. Even then, you would have to believe that Allen would have no regard for his daughter’s privacy to engineer such a scheme during the time when he was actively battling for her custody and affections.
But even if you can overcome the facially absurd notion that Allen would have any sort of motive to leak the tape, there is a second reason why Allen or his lawyers could not have been the ones to leak the tape: Because they didn’t have access to it before August 18, 1992 (the date the tape was leaked). Only Mia Farrow and Connecticut police did at that time.
While Allen’s attorneys certainly would have obtained access to a copy of the tape during the evidence discovery phase of the custody dispute between Allen and Farrow, there is no way they would have been given a copy of it before August 18, 1992.
The first court hearing for the custody dispute didn’t even take place until August 25, 1992. No discovery would have taken place before then. (Farrow wasn’t even served with Allen’s lawsuit for custody of the kids until August 13th, 1992, according to pgs. 143–144 of Groteke’s book.)
Even several months later, when the custody trial was well underway in 1993, Allen’s attorneys were still complaining about the fact that they were never given access to the original copy of the Dylan tape by police authorities, after those same authorities freely shared it with Mia Farrow’s legal team. As a result, they were unable to investigate it for further evidence of editing and tampering — apart from the tampering that Groteke herself admitted that Farrow engaged in by editing the original copy.
The notion that Allen might have had anything to do with the leak of the tape is simply and utterly ludicrous on its face.
Other Evidence From The Initial Court Hearing Suggests That Mia Farrow Would Willingly Sacrifice Her Children’s Privacy In Order To Get The Media To Portray Allen In A Bad light
It was during that first court hearing on August 25, 1992, that Farrow’s attorneys went out of their way to also violate Soon-Yi’s privacy by insisting that the judge look at nude photos of her (the same photos that Soon-Yi had asked Allen to take of her after they began their romantic liaison that culminated in their marriage that has now lasted for over two decades). The judge prudently refused to examine the photographs, but Farrow’s lawyers still unquestionably anticipated the presence of the media at the hearing. There is little doubt that their dramatics were for the benefit of the media, rather than the judge.
The actions of Farrow’s attorneys here only serve as further evidence that the privacy and dignity of Farrow’s children always took a back seat to her quest to have Allen publicly branded as a child molester in the media.
There are two other notable facts about that first court hearing:
1. The Los Angeles Times reported that: “In their private meeting with the judge, Allen and Farrow were believed to have discussed the visitation rights question and possibly an agreement by Farrow to drop the child abuse charge in return for Allen’s withdrawing the custody petition.”
2. It was only after that hearing that “the couple had agreed to stop the publicity war.”
Naturally, this was only after Dylan’s tape had been leaked to a television news station. But the statement itself confirms that Farrow was actively engaged in a “publicity war” as opposed to focusing exclusively on the welfare of her children and protecting their privacy.
(Oh, and by the way, the day after Farrow leaked the tape of Dylan to WNYW-TV, she sent her other daughter Lark to a noted gossip columnist at the NY Post to offer up an exclusive interview of her daughter in exchange for information on Soon-Yi.
This would be the same Lark Previn whom witnesses said was treated by Farrow as a “scullery maid” who “did most of the chores” around the house before turning to drugs and eventually dying of AIDS on Christmas Day in 2008.)
Fox News 5 never aired the Dylan tape itself. But the fact that Mia Farrow’s camp would leak it to the press should give serious pause to those who are quick to condemn Allen without examining the full range of facts and evidence.